Emperor Akihito performs last official duty outside Imperial Palace ahead of abdication
Japan Times -- Apr 27
Emperor Akihito took part in an award ceremony in Tokyo on Friday, in what was likely his last official duty outside the Imperial Palace ahead of his abdication next week.

He appeared at the ceremony held by the Cabinet Office to present the Midori Prize, which is awarded to recipients who have made significant contributions to conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity in various areas, including science, policy, public awareness and practical action, according to the AEON Environmental Foundation, the founder of the award.

The 85-year-old Emperor, who has reigned since January 1989, will step down on Tuesday, becoming the nation’s first monarch to do so in about two centuries. His eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne the following day.

The Emperor’s final official duty will be the abdication ceremony at the state hall of the Imperial Palace on April 30. He is expected to deliver his final speech as emperor then. After retiring, he will not engage in any official duties.

He already made his last trips earlier this month to the Grand Shrines of Ise, a complex of Shinto shrines in Mie Prefecture, and the mausoleum of his father, Emperor Showa, on the outskirts of Tokyo. He is scheduled to spend his final days as Emperor inside the palace, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

天皇陛下の退位まであと4日。両陛下は26日、皇居の外で行われるものとしては最後となる公務に臨まれた。在位中最後の姿を一目見ようと、沿道には多くの人が集まった。両陛下が出席されたのは、憲政記念館で開かれた『みどりの式典』。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
May 20
Officials of Japan's southwestern island town of Yakushima say all the people stranded on a mountain have descended by Sunday evening. (NHK)
May 20
Japanese seismologists believe that nearly 99 percent of their predictions related to massive earthquakes in the Pacific off central and western Japan are likely to prove wrong, a survey conducted by Kansai University showed Sunday. (Kyodo)
May 20
In recent years, we've heard a number of disturbing accounts involving teachers hitting students at Japanese schools, and this week, another disturbing case came to light, when a foreign English-language instructor was seen slapping a two-year-old child during a class at a child daycare facility. (Japan Today)
May 20
Police in Hidaka town, Hokkaido, have arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder after he shot his father with an arrow from a crossbow. (Japan Today)
May 20
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to sign an agreement on joint lunar exploration and other space-related projects when they meet here May 27, seeking to stay a step ahead of China and other rivals. (Nikkei)
May 18
Japan is ready to mine Mars' largest moon after successfully completing all of the compulsory "space contamination" paperwork. (nypost.com)
May 17
A report released by a global union federation has demanded better conditions for laborers working on the construction of Tokyo Games facilities after several "alarming" alleged labor violations were uncovered. (Japan Today)
May 17
Japan's Hayabusa2 probe has aborted its descent to asteroid Ryugu after it reached around 50 meters above the surface. The probe was supposed to drop a marker on the asteroid to prepare for another landing. (NHK)
May 17
The government said Thursday it plans to reduce the number of dementia patients in their 70s by 10 percent over the next decade, setting the first such numerical goal to curb growing welfare spending at a time when the Japanese population is rapidly aging. (Japan Today)
May 17
A major red light district in Osaka will be closed during the Group of 20 summit in late June, the first such decision in 30 years, the local restaurant association said Thursday. (Japan Today)